Notre Dame study finds 'Service with a smile' and tips lead to culture of sexual harassment

NOW: Notre Dame study finds ’Service with a smile’ and tips lead to culture of sexual harassment

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SOUTH BEND, Ind.--- A study conducted by Notre Dame's Mendoza School of Business finds that requiring workers to 'serve with a smile' and depend on tips leads to a culture of sexual harassment. The study surveyed 92 service industry workers and 229 male customers.

"What we really find is that customers in this condition feel a heightened sense of power," said Timothy Kundro, Assistant Professor of Management and Organization at Notre Dame and a coauthor of the study. "They feel power when they can control the amount of income an employee takes home and they also feel power when the employee really doesn’t have a choice but to smile back at them."

The 229 men's behaviors were analyzed based on how much power they felt they had when served by someone who they could or could not tip and did or did not have to smile.

"Together these create what we’re calling ‘a perfect storm’ for them to engage in behavior that they might not otherwise," said Kundro.

The study also found 66% of service industry workers claim they were sexually harassed in the past six months. The study also discovered that women were more likely to be sexually harassed than men.

"We looked at whether or not employees who received tips were more likely to receive sexual harassment and that was the case but it was really the case for women, it was exacerbated for them," said Kundro.

To find more information on this study, click here.

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